Rice Pilaf With Basil And Pine Nuts
Why I Love This Recipe
Pilaf is an Eastern Mediterranean dish introduced, more than likely, by Persia during the reign of Darius the Great.
Pilaf is a method of cooking grains such as cracked wheat, barley, kamut, quinoa, or, in this case, rice in a meat of vegetable stock after first having been sautéed/fried in oil or butter. This method of cooking rice in particular has spawned many variations of the same theme such as Spanish Paella, Cajun Jambalaya, and the delicious Italian Risotto. In fact, there are only two differences between pilaf and risotto.
1. For Pilaf, the warm stock is added all at once, then covered and left to simmer and absorb the stock instead of stirring. (Although some risottos, with Vialone Nano, are made this way too)
2. Most importantly Pilaf is made with long grain rice, not the a medium-short grain required to make risotto. A pilaf should be light and fluffy with separate grains, not sticky or clingy in a creamy amylopectin based sauce as with risotto.
Ingredients You'll Need
1 TB Olive Oil
1 TB Butter
1 large Shallot, chopped
1 cup Long-Grain Rice; I use Basmati but Jasmine will work; you can use converted rice as well. With Pilaf it is OK to wash the raw rice in cold water before cooking (Not the converted rice though)
2 cups Chicken Stock
10 Fresh Basil; Chiffonade
1/4 cup toasted Pine Nuts
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
In a small saucepan, bring broth to a simmer.
Reduce heat to low and keep warm; just as with risotto.
Heat the oil and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.
Add shallot and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes.
Add rice and stir until well coated with fat, and a nutty smell begins to waft from the pan; just as with risotto.
Add broth all at once and bring the rice to a boil.
Reduce heat to low.
Cover and cook until broth is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Stir basil and toasted pine nuts into rice.
Season the pilaf with a pinch or 2 of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
Note: Long grain rice does not really absorb twice itself in water.
If you use 1 1/2 cups of rice, you will only need 2 3/4 cups of stock not 3.